Bird Watching in the Peruvian Amazon Rain Forest
More than 600 species of birds from some 60 families have been spotted in Peru’s Amazon Basin, and the area around Iquitos is an avian hotspot. Birdwatchers come from around the world for the opportunity to see species found nowhere else on earth. Here’s what you need to know.
When to Go Many bird species in the Amazon are permanent residents, so every season offers an opportunity for sightings. The best time of year to visit depends on whether you plan to cruise or stay at eco-lodges. For the former, plan to visit during the wet season (November to April), when smaller waterways are accessible by boat. For the latter, visit during the dry season (May to October). January and February are typically the wettest months.
Where to Go Each biome in the Peruvian rainforests serves as a habitat for its own diverse birds. The Manu Biosphere Reserve is believed to have the highest concentration of avian life anywhere on the planet. Tambopata and Pacaya-Samiria National Reserves, both home to more than 500 species, are much more easily accessible than Manu. Multi-day tours through the Amazon region pass through multiple biomes in an effort to maximize bird-watching opportunities.
What You’ll See There are well over 1,700 registered bird species in Peru—hundreds of them in the Amazon rainforest—and new species are discovered each year. Among the many colorful species on display are macaws, toucans, cotingas, hummingbirds, tanagers, and honeycreepers. Meanwhile, the Amazon River and its tributaries are home to kingfishers, herons, ibis, storks, and sunbitterns.
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